A Level Statistics

 

Please note that from September 2017, Statistics will be available as a one-year A level subject only.

What is it about at sixth form level?

A fair coin is tossed nine times in a row and lands heads each time. Will it land heads the next time? Many people feel that it is quite unlikely and would bet on tails. That run of luck surely has to end! Yet it is statistically just as likely to land on heads as on tails. Chance, as they say, has no memory. Now suppose that you read that scientists have just discovered that if you eat chocolate regularly, the risk of your skin turning bright orange increases by a factor of 100. That’s enough to worry many people. Indeed, “shock” headlines of this kind can be found across the “science” pages of many national newspapers. By itself, it should not worry anyone. Perhaps the underlying odds of developing orange skin are astronomically small. If so, a hundredfold increase will pose a negligible absolute increase in risk.

When it comes to statistics, our intuitions often lead us astray. In a world where we are bombarded with ever more data, it is increasingly important to have a good understanding of how to interpret patterns and probabilities. The emphasis of the course is on developing a rigorous understanding of how to approach and interpret data. You will learn how to decide which tests are appropriate to determine which kinds of patterns and how to evaluate the results. Although you will have proper grounding in the mathematics, the course is designed to show you how to use statistics across a wide range of real-world situations.

The course is a one-year course, meaning that you will sit the AS and the A2 together in the summer.

Autumn Term

The AS is divided into three modules. In Unit 1, you will look at numerical measures, probability, binomial and normal distributions, estimation, and correlation and regression. In Unit 2, you will look at time series, sampling, discrete probability distributions, interpretation of data and hypothesis testing. In Unit 3, you will look at contingency tables, hypothesis testing and non-parametric methods.

Spring and Summer Terms

The A2 is also divided into three modules. In Units 4 & 5, you will look at continuous probability
distributions, distributional approximations, estimation, and hypothesis testing. In Unit 6, you will look at experimental design, analysis of variance, statistical process control, and acceptance sampling.

Why study it and what skills does it develop?

A qualification in statistics is valuable if you wish to pursue study in the social sciences and in medicine. It will develop your skills of analysis and abstract thinking. In particular, it will sharpen your sensitivity to patterns and teach you how to overcome misleading intuitions and cognitive biases.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

You should have a grade B or above Maths (I)GCSE.

How is the course assessed?

AS & A level

The course is assessed entirely by examination in May/June. There are papers on each module. Each paper is worth one third of the AS level or one sixth of the A level. Each paper lasts 1 hour 30 minutes.

Reading

Statistics 1 (2nd Edition)
By R. Williamson et al
Published by Heineman, ISBN 978-0435513382

Statistics 2 and 3 (2nd Edition)
By R. Williamson et al
Published by Heineman, ISBN 978-0435513405

A level Statistics for AQA SS4
By R. Williamson, G. Buque
Available by special order from AQA

A level Statistics for AQA SS5
By R. Williamson, G. Buque
Available by special order from AQA

A level Statistics for AQA SS6
By R. Williamson, G. Buque
Available by special order from AQA

Exam Board and Specification Codes

AS: Pearson-Edexcel 5381, A2: Pearson-Edexcel 6831

 

Mike Danzelman
Head of Department

Tara

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
University College London (Medicine)

The teachers have been amazing and have all gone over and above everything I needed. Coming to MPW is the best decision I ever made, I’m just so glad I came here. I would never have got these grades without the support of MPW and my fantastic teachers.

Hector

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A

Progressed to
University of Edinburgh (Philosophy and Mathematics)

MPW felt more like a university than a school for me. I really liked having the freedom to plan my own time around the set periods of lessons and there is also a real focus on doing your work on time, being methodical and preparing well so there is no last-minute stress at the end of the year. Unlike at some schools where it can be a lottery who your teachers are, at MPW they are all first-rate. If, like me, you change your mind after school about what you want to do and need to get some new A levels there is nowhere better to cater to your needs. I would recommend MPW. It is a fantastic school. 

Charlotte

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A

Progressed to
University of Bristol (History and Innovation)

The teaching is amazing. It’s so relaxed and if there is anything you don’t understand it is easy to ask. I wanted to do a course that is not usually taken by History students at MPW (Tudor Rebellion) so they tailored a course for me and I had one-to-one tuition for that part. It’s been really good to boost my grade.

Nicola

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A

Progressed to
University College London (Medicine)

I chose MPW because my brother came to MPW, loved his time here and came out with really good grades. When I didn’t do so well in my AS levels I knew something had to change. I came for an admissions meeting and it felt like a good fit for me. It’s been absolutely amazing. I’ve never had an exam period before where I wasn’t stressed, panicky or not feeling prepared but at MPW they have changed that. The exam preparation that you do throughout the year has helped me so much.

George

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
University of Bristol (Cellular and Molecular Medicine)

I retook my A levels because I had my heart set on going to Bristol and I knew that I could do better than BBB. My parents chose MPW for me because of its fantastic reputation. MPW has been so much better than I expected. The teaching is so enthusiastic, they do exactly what you want and are really focussed at the same time as being very personable and taking a genuine interest in you.